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Chapter 15. Baptism: Becoming a Christian • 193

Adopted Children of God

Baptism also gives us new life as adopted children of God. We become

sharers of divine life and temples of the Holy Spirit. We are now made

righteous by God and live in a state of grace, that is, we live in union

with God because of his gracious and loving initiative. Our permanence

in the state of grace is called

sanctifying grace

because God “sanctifies”

us, that is, makes us his holy people by giving us his life. God continues

to assist us by many helps that are called

actual graces

. Thus, we have

the ability to live and act under the guidance and light of the gifts of

the Holy Spirit. This helps us mature in goodness through the practice

of virtues, such as the Cardinal Virtues: prudence, justice, temperance,

and fortitude.

Initiated into the Church

By Baptism we become members of the Church, the Body of Christ.

We share in the priesthood of Christ as well as his prophetic and royal

mission. “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a

people of his own, so that you may announce the praises’ of him who

called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pt 2:9). We enjoy

the community we find in the Church, share our talents and gifts with

its members, respond willingly to its teachings and requirements, and

assume the responsibilities that our membership implies.

Bonded to Other Christians

Baptism provides a common foundation among all Christians, including

those not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. The Church

recognizes the validity of Baptism in other Christian Churches as long

as the rite involved the pouring of or immersion in water, a Trinitarian

formula, and the intention to baptize. Those who have been baptized

have been saved by their faith in Christ and the grace of Baptism. “They

therefore have a right to be called Christians and with good reason are

accepted as brothers [and sisters] by the children of the Catholic Church”

(CCC, no. 1271, citing UR, no. 3).